They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Intel showed the prototype called Ruby (pictured at right) at IDF Japan last April. Now it seems that Intel has put up a teaser site with one of those annoying Flash animations – you know the ones you always click “skip intro” to avoid. The current speculation is that Ruby and Microsoft's Origami are somehow related.
Ruby is clearly not as svelte as the OQO device. And what's with the keyboard? The trade-off between hiding the keyboard via a mechanical slider (like the OQO and Side Kick) that introduces a potential mechanical point of weakness and exposing the keyboard to get a one piece design (at the cost of additional size) is obvious. Time will tell which approach is preferred by the market. I remember back when AT&T Wireless wouldn't sell flip phones because they thought they were inherently weak mechanically – here the market expressed a clear preference for the “weaker” form factor. I can see too why they put the keyboard on the side – a qwerty keyboard along the bottom in landscape mode would add much more to the size of the device.
To go back to the size thing – we are talking about “pocketable” Windows devices, right? It seems that OQO is still ahead on the miniaturization front. I guess we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what kind of specs Ruby has on release.
Be sure to check out this post on the OQO device too.